Borough Market is one of those magic places only a city like London can deliver. The site celebrated its 1000 birthday (yes, a millennium!) in 2014, and we hope our grand-grand-grand children will be able to celebrate its 2000th. It’s amazing to travel among the dozens of stalls coming from all over the world admiring the colors and the flavors of each one.
Being such an incredible place has its cost: the market gets crowded every day, and you have to expect to queue at the most famous stalls, but it’s worth it, trust us. The best days to visit are Friday, when there are fewer people around but also fewer stalls, and Saturday, when the market is at its greatest. In any case, we suggest you come early during the day, before the midday crowd. We usually visit the market at around 10:30 AM – 11 AM, so that we have enough time to have a couple of bites at our favorite stalls and then heading up to a restaurant for a decent lunch. Do you think you can’t have double lunch? Think again, there are too many fantastic stalls here not to have a back-to-back meal!
How to reach it?
London Bridge is within a stone’s throw from Borough Market. If you have time, we suggest you arrive at Blackfriars station or to Embankment and walk from there to the market, following the Thames. It’s an enjoyable walk on the south bank, and it’s a nice warm up before wandering among the stalls!
Highlights of the Market
The number of stalls is humongous, and there is no way we can end up with a proper list of all the spots we like. Nevertheless, these are the places we can’t miss whenever we get here!
Richard Haward’s Oysters
Borough market is the home of two nice oyster shops: Richard Haward and The Wright Brothers. They sit one in front of each other, on the two sides of Stoney Road in a never ending fight for the best shells of London Bridge. We have no doubt: Richard Haward deserves the golden prize. Oystermen from seven generations, the Haward’s family started their production in the XVIII century. The farm is located in Merseyside, Essex, where they cultivate oysters with patience and care, leaving the shellfishes to grow thanks to the tides of the Northern Sea.
The best quality they have is the Colchester native, slow food preside. The intense and salty taste of this astounding kind of mollusks is incredible, and you can’t have a better introduction to the market anywhere else. They also have a good combo with four oysters and a glass of sparkling wine, but we recommend you to ask for four natives as they usually tend to give you a mix of two native and two rock oysters (which are still good, but of an inferior quality).
Arabica Bar & Restaurant
Arabica is a Levantine Kitchen restaurant on the southern side of the market. There is a bar/restaurant with seatings, a falafel counter and a salad bar in front of the shop.
The latter one is the reason why we put this place on our top list. Yes, you can win a position in our top list because of your salad bar. It’s amazing, and you deserve to know about it.
There is one thing, in particular, you can’t miss here. The hummus. That’s the best hummus we ever tried in London, so if you have a craving for this delicious mashed chickpeas, you need to try it. Flavored, creamy, with that particular zingy note only olive oil from the southern side of the mediterranean sea can give.
The mixed platter includes three different components you can choose among the available ones. We always pick the hummus as our first choice (and you will too, trust us!) and, if possible, we go for the artichokes salad. The quality of the vegetables is high and the spices they use in the preparation of this mixture, the za’atar, in particular, make the dish a must-try. We never tried to seat inside, but Arabica will give you a great appetizer to share, or even just a high-quality snack while pondering a decision about where to go for lunch!
Brindisa is one of the most famous shops in the Market, and there is a reason for that. Started in 1988, Brindisa became one of (if not The one) best importers of food from Spain, a country where cheese and ham is a religion more than just a dish. Monika Linton, the owner of the brand, is the woman who started bringing food from Spain to London, letting British people discover the quality of Iberico ham and Manchego cheese.
A last mention for the chorizo roll, just outside the shop: its celebrity status is derived from The Guardian, which put this sandwich at first place in its ranking “best street foods in London”. It’s not! It’s not even on our list. Get inside and ask for some jamon bits, don’t bother with the chorizo.
You know queue is a thing in London when you see people standing in line for 20 minutes just to grab a coffee. Well, the truth is that this is not “just a coffee”, this is the Michael Jackson of coffee. An absolute superstar in the hot beverages Monmouth Coffee started in 1978 in Covent Garden and moved here at the end of the 90s when Borough Market was quickly becoming a key point for specialty food in the city.
Coffee beans are imported from several countries, especially South America, roasted in London and served straight away. Apart from coffee, they also sell beans by weight. We recommend two beverages here, as one is surely not enough! The black coffee is incredible, flavored, a robust body with sweetness and acidity going side by side to leave you a perfect taste afterward. The cappuccino, using full-fat milk from British farms, is incredibly well done (there are only a few places where you can get a well-made cappuccino!) and with the right balance between coffee and milk.
This coffee is just something we can’t get enough. There is a reason why this place is often tagged as “Best Coffee in London”. And the reputation is well earned.
Spice Mountain and Tea2You
Borough Market is not only an excellent assortment of stalls where to eat, but it’s also the place where you can buy the most amazing products for cooking at home! As we couldn’t choose among our favorite two, we decided to put both of them on the list.
Spice Mountain is the place to visit when you are looking for that particular spice you can’t find anywhere else. Looking for that unique type of chilies from Kerala? They have it. The quality of their spices is high, and we always love to pick a couple of random jars and try to learn how to prepare the perfect dish for those spices!
Tea2You focuses on, guess what, selling tea. But wait, not just tea. The Tea, capital T. This shop specializes in Darjeeling tea, the most famous region for this product, right next to the Himalayan mountains. Rather than going to the most famous (and expensive) tea chains London is famous for, Whittard, Twinings, etc., we suggest you come try this place first.
Bread. Cheese. Olives. Do we need to explain more? This fantastic stall in Three Crown Square is renowned for its top quality sourdough bread, sure, but the real reason why you should not miss this place is the cheese and olives breadsticks. Freshly baked bread is filled with generous amounts of olives and cheese, cooking altogether to reach bloody delicious tops of goodness. It’s an incredible snack and eating it while smoking hot is one of the main reason you should visit the market.
You want cheese? You’ll get it. Here. Kappacasein is an institution at Borough Market, providing the cheese fix everybody needs (yes, everybody!) since 2008. They use organic milk from Kent and deliver quality cheese from their own dairy farm in Bermondsey. Here you can buy several of their products, yogurt, ricotta, etc, but the reason why we put it on our deliciousspots list is their cheese sandwich. Oh, how amazing it is! Those two slices of bread covered with butter and filled with their own version of gruyere are incredibly flavored. Sure it’s not exactly fat-free, but you didn’t really think about keeping your calories low around here, right?!
There are so many things we had to leave out of this list, cheese shops, juice stalls, vegetables, fish and meat, the amazing Chilean spices shop, gelateria 3bis right behind Monmouth; we are deeply sorry for not speaking more about them.
There is simply too much choice at Borough Market, too many wonderful flavors we wanted to follow. This is one of the best markets in London, sure, but it’s a little bit more: this is one of the top food markets in the world.
How to reach Broadway Market?
The Market is located next to London Bridge station, which is serviced by the Jubilee and Northern lines on the London Underground.
The Street Market is open from Monday to Saturday. On Monday and Tuesday, not all of the traders are present, but there is still plenty of choices. The full market is in operation Wednesday to Saturday. For more info, visit the market website.
Did you visit the Market? What are the best stalls you tried? Did you get lost in all the excellent dishes, as we constantly do every time we get here? Tell us about it!